Sudsy Stories

Every day around Australia, Orange Sky volunteers pull out our six orange chairs on shift and sit down for a chat with people who use our services. Many people visit shift out of necessity to wash their clothes or have a warm shower, while others simple come along to connect with their community.

Genuine and non-judgemental conversations are at the core of what we do, and while sometimes we get into the serious stuff, most of the time it's just every day people talking about every day stuff (and of course, some friendly banter!).

Stories from Shift

Adam, Orange Sky Friend

Adam hasn't had an easy time. After being made redundant, he experienced some time living on the streets and in-and-out of transitional living, before he was able to secure housing. Although he now has a place to call home, money is still tight. Being predominately wheelchair bound, doing laundry is a really challenging task for Adam.

"I can't pick up my washing," he tells us. "I can't walk with it or carry it. It's a lot work. I have to do things very slowly to make sure I don't fall over."

Being able to come to Orange Sky and have his washing cleaned and dried is a huge relief for Adam. In fact - visiting Orange Sky has become an integral part of his weekly routine for a number of years.

"What Orange Sky does for the community, the way you help out a lot of people, me included, means a lot," Adam said.

Mary-Anne, Orange Sky Volunteer

As a loyal volunteer to the Sunshine Coast service for over seven years, Mary-Anne has seen first hand the need for Orange Sky’s services, and the complex nature of homelessness in Australia.

“Our shifts have become busier. We are seeing more people, young and old living in cars, single mothers and more families coming in for support. We see a lot of people who have full time employment who still need our support and the support of other charities, just to get by. It's really devastating to see that people can work day in and day out and still can't make ends meet.”

During an unlucky turn of events or situation, volunteers like Mary–Anne take Orange Sky’s simple service and help create a huge difference for thousands of people when they need it most.

“Orange Sky is on the ground providing such a practical service. Our friends connect with us and we are their support team. Everyone deserves a champion, everyone deserves someone to back them.

Erich, Orange Sky Friend

Friendships are born in many ways, and this is just one example of how our bright orange van fostered a bond like no other.

81 year old, Erich was born in Plankstadt, Germany and immigrated to Australia in 1963. Upon arriving, he started his career in steelworks - and didn't speak a word of English!

Erich doesn't have access to a reliable washing machine, and loves the conversation and connection he has on shift - so he's a regular here at Queanbeyan. Erich has recently built a friendship with another friend of Orange Sky, Tony.

The pair have connected on our six orange chairs, and now enjoy a sauerkraut lunch every Sunday together after shift. Whilst Erich's English isn't his mother tongue, it is the genuine connection that brings Tony, Erich and the Orange Sky volunteer team together every week.

Got a story to share? We'd love to hear from you!

Stories from our Sudsy Community